CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Pitching lines may not truly indicate anything in Spring Training, but this one backed up the way Brandon Beachy felt Wednesday afternoon at Bright House Field.
Making his second start of the spring, Beachy struck out a batter and walked one over three innings. The right-hander gave up five hits and two runs while recording only five outs in his Grapefruit League debut, but he said he was more comfortable on the mound in Wednesday's 2-2 tie with the Phillies.
"Absolutely. A lot better than last time out," Beachy said. "Not that the results matter, but I felt better. ... I feel like I'm in a pretty good spot right now."
Beachy is still easing his way back into action in some ways, gradually working in more offspeed pitches as the spring rolls on. He threw a few good changeups this time around, but he continued to focus mostly on his fastball, with a few more two-seamers in the mix than usual.
"I was kind of working on that," Beachy said. "I threw some curveballs -- not very good ones, at all. That's something I'm going to work on. I think I threw one slider. Those are things, as Spring Training progresses, I'll get to those, focus on those a little more. But right now, I'm working on throwing the fastball. There are times I was missing. I was able to make some pitches at other times."
"I thought he had a great mix," added Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "I think early on in the game, in the first couple innings, his curveball wasn't as good as we've seen his normal curve. I think that's just him trusting his arm, and I think that'll get better as he goes out there more and more. But his fastball had some good life and his changeup had some depth to it."
Beachy said he had no idea what his velocity was -- his fastball clocked in from 88-91 mph Friday -- but he believed he had better command than he did last time out. Despite what the radar guns may have said Wednesday, Beachy noted, he actually felt stronger as his three-inning outing went on.
"I felt like I had my legs under me a little bit better in the third. That's also part of Spring Training -- getting that rhythm and being able to slow myself down and feel the mechanics a little better," Beachy said. "There's times during the season where those first two innings, you almost feel a little too good."
Beachy said he's still "babying" how he implements his offspeed pitches, but that's generally the final piece of the puzzle anyway. He observed that he's not quite "really letting it go and ripping it," but he obviously expects to do so before the regular season.
Perhaps more important than any of that for Beachy, coming off a frustrating return from Tommy John surgery last season, is the simple fact that he's healthy and pitching like it's a normal Spring Training.
"I was able to go out there and throw three innings and come out of it feeling pretty good," Beachy said. "We'll see how I bounce back tomorrow, and I'll adjust accordingly."